The wrong words can be just as hurtful as the situation says therapist Richard Joelson. A person’s need to provide reassurance or comfort during a tragic even can lead us to say things that will find permanent homes as negative memories of the recipient. Most people only want reassurance from persons who have prior and more experience than them. Instead, tell them how you feel and not how they ought to feel.
- Your words can unintentionally hurt a person who has suffered a loss or other traumatic event
- Don’t speak reassurances to a hurt individual in order to make yourself feel better
- Remember that “I’m sorry” may often be the most helpful thing you can say to someone regardless of the severity or magnitude of their situation.
“Chemotherapy patients complain about people telling them how they will or should feel before, during, and after their treatments. Simple attempts at reassurance, comfort or support like, “Don’t worry, it’ll be okay,” or “I’m sure everything will be just fine,” are often heard as impersonal or hollow.”